Many of us enjoy watching butterflies flitting from flower to flower on sunny days, the peacock and speckled wood to name but a few. So why not come along to the Ring of Gullion and go on a butterfly safari to discover the wonderful variety of butterflies living in the Ring of Gullion AONB beside our most impressive heritage sites.
As part of the Lúnasa Festival and the Big Butterfly Count, we have teamed up with Butterfly Conservation Northern Ireland to invite you and your family, to join us on a butterfly safari among the rich heritage of the Ring of Gullion area.
The archaeology in the Ring of Gullion is world renowned. The Ring of Gullion contains the remains of 20 or so large stone tombs. Many of them are situated in prominent positions with magnificent views over the surrounding countryside. The King’s Ring at Clontygora, and the Ballymacdermot tomb are two of the best examples of Court Tombs in the Northern Ireland.
The butterfly safari will be starting at Slieve Gullion Forest Park and heading by bus to Killevy old churches ,an important early convent of Killevy was founded towards the end of the 5th century by St Moninna, also known as Darerca or Bline.
We will be then heading to Forkhill to follow the Urney Graveyard Funeral Public Footpath looking for butterflies to the historic graveyard where the poet Peadar O’Doirnin is buried.
We will then head to the Pastoral Centre, Jonesborough for a cup of tea. Please bring a packed lunch.
After lunch, we will be heading to Clontygora, known locally as the ‘King’s Ring’, this court tomb has a prominent position in the southeast part of the rugged Slieve Gullion ring-dyke.
Our final visit of the day on the Butterfly Safari will be Moyry Castle is a 17th-century campaign fort overlooks the Moyry Pass, the valley known as the ‘Gap of the North’. It has always been the main direct north-south route in eastern Ireland. In the days of the Fianna legends the men of Ulster sallied forth through this valley to harry the tribes of Leinster.
The Big Butterfly Count which runs from the 17th July to 9th August, and is a UK wide survey, only takes 15mins where you record the butterflies you see in your garden, or it can be a local park, or anywhere you fancy.
Butterflies react quickly to change in their environment which makes them excellent biodiversity indicators, any recorded declines are a good early warning for the wider biodiversity. For details on how to take part in this year’s Butterfly Count log on to http://www.bigbutterflycount.org/about.
This event is free and supported by Newry Mourne and Down District Council, Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Butterfly Conservation Northern Ireland.
Please book your space on this exciting butterfly safari of the area. If you would like to have a moth trap the night before (5th August), please contact the Ring of Gullion Office on (028) 3082 8590.